We’ve seen so many changes in online service delivery. What does it all mean to a mid-market business? Our IT and technology experts discuss the pressing topics in online service delivery, such as the big shift to ecommerce, adding value post-purchase, better integration with vendors to save time and money, and meeting the needs of demanding corporate clients.
Online Service Delivery: Don’t forget job satisfaction
Your systems strategy should focus on what the clients want. But staff must be a consideration as well. Our IT and technology experts discuss how systems strategy can be a crucial factory in the attraction and retention of staff.
New tools have made it much easier and cheaper to deliver information, offers, and new services to customers after they buy. Our IT and technology experts discuss new ways to add value after the purchase is done.
Online service delivery: E-commerce in the mid-market
We’ve seen a huge increase in Freeman Clarke B2B clients moving into the ecommerce space. Whilst many mid-market businesses have resisted the shift, it’s been a boon for our clients. Our IT and technology experts provide their thoughts on this ecommerce in the mid-market.
During COVID and the associated lockdowns, most business interactions were restricted to a few square inches of real-estate on someone’s screen. A CIO I know well said it was the lockdown that made him realise how much he needed interaction with his colleagues to be effective. Indeed, most of us were used to having a presence in the office—walking around, enjoying ad-hoc chats and water-cooler discussions, updating colleagues at the lunch table, whatever. Remote working brought all these spontaneous human interactions to screeching halt and not a lot has replaced them.
Has remote work made us more efficient? I don’t think so, but it has certainly made us think more about communication and how to regain what we’ve lost.
Over the past year, I’ve gathered a number of ways CIOs and CTOs have attempted to resolve some of these issues. Below are four ways that have worked and helped to regain some of the human presence that was lost during lockdown:
1.The doctor is in. Like Lucy from Peanuts, have a regular conference call planned and in everyone’s diary. When I set these up, attendance varied from none to twenty, but when people did drop by, work was only about 20% of the stuff we nattered about. Also, whilst it was scheduled for thirty minutes, it often went on for significantly longer, indicating that people were eager to engage.
2.The ‘always-on’ call. Designate a team or an individual to always have a channel open. I’ve done this with outsourced functions, where they can immediately interact with a member of the employed team without having to email or call. It’s particularly useful for agile working with distributed dev teams.
3.The cafe. There are systems out there now that allow a persistent presence; we’ve been using Kumospace. People pop in whilst doing something else, on the off chance someone else might pop in as well. We also used it recently to provide the much-missed informal chat sessions we normally have at our conference. It was the first time I’ve seen people stick around in a conference call, virtually moving between groups and conversations like in IRL. Some said it was almost as good as the real thing.
4.The regular update. We suggest to our CIOs and CTOs that they have a regular session in their diary, usually once a week, to catch up with the CEO one-to-one. They should have these meetings even when there’s nothing on the agenda to talk about. I know a CIO who keeps a set of Pictionary cards to hand in case conversation lulls. Even for the CEO, there’s time for a little fun! (It couldn’t hurt to have regular meetings with the rest of the Board as well.)
I am often asked about innovative technology for our new ways of working. I don’t see any game-changing new systems out there; most are simply a version of video conferencing. So we need to make do with what we’ve got. Similarly, none of the above ideas are massively innovative. But with some effort and thought, we can approach, if not replace, the human touch of office life.
Look out for another post on the challenges particular to the hybrid office.
Automation can actually have a large and immediate impact on a mid-market business’s bottom line. Our experts discuss an example of how automation made a huge difference for a client.
Once you have your core processes and technology sorted, it becomes much easier to look for new ways to grow. Our IT and technology experts discuss how they’ve helped clients leverage their existing customer base and find new markets.
Freeman Clarke is the UK’s largest and most experienced team of fractional IT leaders. We work exclusively with ambitious organisations, helping our clients use IT to beat the competition. Contact us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.
CEO’s report: Your IT questions answered
Everything you wanted to know about IT and technology but were afraid to ask
We wanted to know what mid-market business leaders were thinking about when it came to their IT and technology. So we solicited their questions. Then we had our own IT leaders respond.
The result is this free CEO’s report. It’s a fascinating collection of real-world questions and answers about cyber security, integration, ERPs, private equity, compliance and more. Download it now and feel free to share it with our compliments. The answers may surprise you!
Get the report
Everything you always wanted to know about IT and technology but were afraid to ask
These days nearly half of all firms face some kind of Cyber Security attack. The usual response is to insist that it’s the IT team’s problem. In our experience, however, it’s the Board’s responsibility. This short video explains how you can quickly educate yourself about Cyber Security and how Freeman Clarke can help.